State Supreme Court affirms city of Kent's ban on medical marijuana collective … – Kent Reporter

The state Supreme Court voted 8-1 that the city of Kent can ban medical marijuana collective gardens.
The court issued its opinion on May 21, which affirmed earlier rulings by the state Court of Appeals and King County Superior Court.
“The city is pleased with the ruling,” said Pat Fitzpatrick, a city of Kent deputy attorney, in an email. “We were confident that in passing the Medical Use of Cannabis Act, the state Legislature had not divested the city of its power to determine whether marijuana land uses should be permitted in the city.
“Kent’s City Council made a difficult policy decision in determining that marijuana land uses will not be permitted in Kent. It is nice to know the Council’s decision is supported at all state court levels.”
According to the Supreme Court’s opinion, the state’s medical use of cannabis act (MUCA) grants cities and towns the power to zone the production, processing or dispensing of medical marijuana. Under that state law, the city of Kent enacted a zoning ordinance to prohibit collective gardens within the city limits.
“This case requires us to determine whether MUCA preempts the ordinance,” the court ruling reads. “We hold it does not and affirm the Court of Appeals. The ordinance is a valid exercise of the city of Kent’s zoning authority recognized in RCW (revised code of Washington) 69.51A.140 (1) because the ordinance merely regulates land use activity.”
The Seattle-based Cannabis Action Coalition filed the initial lawsuit against the city in June 2012 in an effort to prohibit the city from enforcing its ban on collective gardens because the state regulates medical marijuana collectives, and cities cannot enforce federal law over state medical marijuana laws. The group has appealed each of the earlier court decisions.
Fitzpatrick argued the case in front of the Supreme Court in February. He emphasized that cities do have the authority to prohibit businesses that are established to distribute medical marijuana.
David Mann, a Seattle attorney representing Deryck Tsang, who owns a Kent medical marijuana collective garden and also is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, told the Supreme Court that the city cannot ban medical marijuana collective gardens.
“We don’t think there is authority to regulate or to ban outright,” Mann said to the justices in February. “In the grand scheme, the Legislature intended to allow collective gardens.”
Justice Steve González disagreed with the majority. In …Read More